CSB student earns one of three “Top Paper” awards at conference

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April 30, 2018


Aric Putnam, professor of communication and Sophia Pellizzer '18

There were 50 research papers on communication topics submitted to the 27th Annual Undergraduate Communication Research Conference April 20 at the Anderson Student Center, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.

College of Saint Benedict senior Sophia Pellizzer was one of three students to have her work recognized as a “Top Paper” at the conference, which was sponsored by the communication and journalism department at UST.

Pellizzer, a communication major from Golden Valley, Minnesota, presented “A ‘White Queen’ in Africa: The Rhetoric of Racial Power and Reinforcing Femininity.” Her paper was a rhetorical analysis of the book, “Sultan to Sultan: Adventures Among the Masai and Other Tribes of East Africa,” written by May French Sheldon.

Learn more about the CSB/SJU Communication Department

Pellizzer received a plaque that was presented at the plenary lunch session. Her adviser is Aric Putnam, professor of communication at CSB and SJU.

The other top paper awards went to two students from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities -   Andrew Wilson (“Hubert Humphrey: Rhetorical Reframing of Democratic Identity at the Volatile 1948 Democratic National Convention”) and Gemma Kumaraea (“Homeland and Orientalism: An Examination of Arab Muslim Identity and US Nationalism”).

Sheldon traveled to Africa and undertook a three-month safari, making her “sort of a hero” in the early women’s movement, which was essentially a white women’s movement, Pellizzer said.

“My paper illustrates how French Sheldon relies on her whiteness and dialectical pairs – black/white, male/female, civilized/uncivilized – to construct her own personal power and reinforce her femininity,” Pellizzer said.

“Essentially, I get at the problematic part of French Sheldon’s rhetoric, and explore the impact studying can have on communication studies and current feminist discourse,” she added.

Four other CSB and SJU senior communication majors presented their research at the conference (listed alphabetically):

  • Breana Burggraff, "Performing Identity: The Rhetoric of Nationalism and Gender Politics in Black Arts Theatre;"
  • Emily Dosch, “Immigrants: Getting the Job Done Since 1757.
  • Kevin Duong, "More than Orientals, Gooks, and Chinks: Analyzing the Construction of the Asian American Identity through the Publication Gidra;"
  • Tanner Thiele, “Masculinity is for the Boys: A Study on the Homosocial Performance of Masculinity on College Campuses."

Three CSB and SJU faculty members also attended the conference and served as respondents for the conference – Putnam, professor of communication Karyl Daughters and assistant professor of communication Emily Paup.

Students from 13 colleges and universities besides CSB and SJU participated in the event.